Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Expedition: Roosevelt Row (Phoenix, Arizona)

Flowers by Nancy Lundebjerg on 500px.com

El Mac + Kofie (a collaborative mural)

I have sorely neglected this blog in favor of other platforms (Instagram, 500px) which are more focused on the photography than on the writing.  And, of course, there is the siren call of the likes and the shout outs that those platforms offer.  Mind you, if I were a character in that first episode of Black Mirror, I'd would be on the bottom of the social media heap.

Yesterday, I went on my second street art expedition of the year -- the first was in Las Vegas (more to follow from that one) and this one was to Roosevelt Row (#RoRo) in Phoenix.  The streets were mostly deserted (in some cases, wholly deserted) and I think I was the oldest person out doing a downtown street art crawl.  I did run across an older couple in an alley but he seemed pretty uncomfortable with the whole thing.  And the herd of high school students with teachers was either at the end of their expedition or stuffed after their impromptu trip to the ice cream parlor.

I was reminded that unlike New York City (where mural are a thing in Little Italy, Tribeca, Soho, Bushwick, etc), not many people are out walking.  This can be a little disconcerting -- even in broad daylight for someone who is used to navigating crowded sidewalks. Perhaps this will change as the new apartments being constructed all around the arts district come on line.  One can only hope.

The genesis of all these murals seems to be Paint PHX -- an annual street art festival since 2014.  It's a grass roots affair that, at times, has drawn over 300 artists to paint the walls, houses (yes, houses) and sometimes alleys of Phoenix.  I barely touched the surface in this walk.

The piece above is a collaboration between the street artists El Mac (Miles MacGregor) and Kofie (Augustine Kofie).